It needed to update its 20-year-old IT systems to enable more self-service options for employees. Meanwhile, a huge cultural change was necessary to pull it all off. Executives embarked on road shows to build sponsorship, sharing testimonials from employees who had benefited from early testing and using case studies to show how things would be more efficient for all in the new model. In the past, when this retailer went through a cost-cutting exercise, it would have reduced the supplies budget for every store by 5% to 10%. ZBB enabled it to take a targeted, data-driven approach to cost reduction; some stores’ supplies budgets were cut in half while others remained untouched or even increased. These technologies are evolving rapidly, and solutions that may have been unavailable or elusively expensive just a few years ago may be more feasible today.

  • And complementing this tendency was a greater willingness among Western European companies to shift production offshore.
  • The Results Delivery office trains, deploys, and monitors scaling teams.
  • In our zero-based modeling, the company would partially convert final assembly to flexible-cell manufacturing in order to reduce labor and machinery costs.
  • In the coming years, we expect to see manufacturers that operate in countries with rising labor costs increase their adoption of automation.
  • With ZBD as its backbone, the CoE spurred breakthrough improvements in technologies and process redesign.

In addition, companies should create a culture of innovative solutions that moves beyond boxes on the organizational chart to focus on changing the way work gets done (often through stretch targets). The result can be a more agile, responsive organization that is better positioned to pursue new opportunities. In the automotive industry, production workflow decisions focus on the tradeoff between in-line focused assembly and near-line preassembly. In-line focused assembly leads to a longer manufacturing line, with stations closely linked and only a short buffer between segments of stations.


For example, executives can be confident that they’re not cutting costs in one part of an organization only to find that the root cause was somewhere else. Finally, ZBB is done in one comprehensive effort, rather than successive rounds of targeted cost cutting that can drain employee morale. Align on design principles to guide organizational decisions—including structure (the number of spans and layers in management), governance, people, and technology (such as automation).

Dealers can verify whether those requirements are met for any individual car. That functioned like an income minimum, since many low- and middle-income families owe less than that in taxes. It was also just another headache for people trying to figure out how much the credit was actually worth to them. Previously, a buyer would need a tax liability at least $7,500 in a given year to get the full benefit of the credit. That’s because the credit could reduce your tax bill to zero, but it would never result in the IRS actually paying you.

How Digital Technology Supercharges Zero-Based Redesign

The company also brought its quality function through the ZBB process. Leadership was ready to scale back but needed to do so without compromising service delivery. They found opportunities to automate customer complaint functions and move some work offshore, as well as quick results gained by streamlining and coordinating audits, meetings and approval processes. When it comes to cost cutting, companies can take one of two routes. One way involves targeted cost cutting, with tightly focused initiatives to realign the cost structure in a particular business, geography, function or process.

Zero-Based Transformation Drives Sustainability

Emboldened by the price transparency afforded by online commerce and the proliferation of dollar stores and hard discounters, they expect lower prices. All this comes at a time when retailers are facing added expenses, in everything from store labor to logistics and delivery, where costs are expected to rise along with fuel prices. We use this method to break down the ZBR concept (or individual processes) into digestible chunks (“user stories” or “epics”), quickly develop and test prototypes, and then put them into action.

The Zero-Based Factory

They found opportunities to automate customer complaint functions and move some work offshore, as well as quick results gained by streamlining and coordinating audits, meetings, and approval processes. The ZBR approach strengthens capabilities in ways that provide powerful competitive differentiation, while streamlining less critical functions. When a company uses ZBR to redesign the pared-down activities, the risk of unintended consequences is lower because the approach is so comprehensive. For example, executives can be confident that they are not cutting costs in one part of an organization only to find that the root cause was somewhere else.

Companies often start with inspiring videos, integrate customer perspectives into ideation sessions, and include subject-matter experts in them as well. ZBT enables businesses to secure funding by eliminating waste, streamlining processes and converging on pragmatic business outcomes that foster sustainable ways of conducting business. These requirements are designed to encourage the auto industry to rely less on China and more on the U.S. for these components, in the name of supply chain security and U.S. jobs. The $7,500 tax credit is actually two separate credits, each worth $3,750. Features can push up the sticker price, and some vehicles are assembled in multiple locations.

ZBR is a one-time effort that sets a bold ambition defined by the activities that are critical to delivering what your customers value most about you. If you want to optimize your company’s processes and drive results, contact Brookey & Company today. Our ZBD Business Process Redesign services can help you achieve your goals and take your business to the next level. This is a more pragmatic and thorough version of the ideal state that takes into account practical constraints like transition costs and risks. Working from the bottom up, teams project future costs and resources for each prioritized activity and service, yielding firm cost and savings commitments. The retailer automated applicant screening, for example, and reduced administrative roles in the store.

Introducing the next-generation operating model

Moreover, many companies have outsourced the manufacturing of product components to offshore contractors in order to gain flexibility and access to the required specialists. Unfortunately, global networks increase a company’s exposure to risks arising from trade wars, protectionism, pandemics, and other disruptions. Participants now have a basic knowledge of the building blocks—advanced analytics, performance measurement, new technologies—they need to assemble to reinvent their customer journey. Businesses and organizations must commit to sustainability while creating innovative digital solutions under an integrated strategy.

Alternatively, providers can operate with enough printers to ensure short delivery times—but they must be willing to accept relatively low utilization levels per printer. Ideally, companies would strive to improve value, resilience, and sustainability simultaneously. In reality, however, they must consider tradeoffs when pursuing these objectives, such as centralizing production to reduce costs versus localizing production to improve resilience. Isolated, incremental improvements are simply not enough to address the wide variety of tradeoffs among the objectives. Notably, for design choices—even within an industry—location matters. For example, the study found that automakers in Western Europe were far more likely than those in China to pursue cost savings through outsourcing.

Many companies, especially those dealing with rapidly changing requirements and large asset bases, face three major challenges. Companies need to decide on the degree of specialization to adopt for two types of assets—the workforce and machinery—at each production stage. The degree of specialization determines the level of flexibility available to the company in deploying the assets. The number of vehicles that qualify as of now is frequently changing. And if you take the credit as a rebate, you don’t need to calculate your taxes in advance to be confident in the amount you’ll get. With growing interest rates, business managers need allocate expenses towards long-term growth investments.

An important part of this process is that as the buyer, you need to attest that you are under the income cap, that you’re buying the vehicle for your own use and that you’re buying it to use in the United States. Instead, there’s a new option to take the credit as a rebate right when you purchase the vehicle. This means that after a bit of paperwork at the dealership, the credit will be available as essentially cash in hand (or, more likely, knocked off the cost of the vehicle) on the day of purchase. But the government is also trying to push companies to bring more jobs to the U.S. by requiring a domestic supply chain. Energizing the front line and leveraging cross-functional expertise can help you overcome the complexity (and disappointment) that often befall transformation efforts.